Sachin – A Billion Dreams Movie Review: An Indian Superhero Story
Before we start with the review, let me clarify that I am not a cricket nut at all, which means that there was no special place for Sachin Tendulkar in my heart as such... but that was before I saw James Erskine’s Sachin-A Billion Dreams. What surprised me was that despite having zero interest in cricket, I cheered, whistled, winced and held back my tears alongwith the rest of the audience during the screening as if I have been following the game since childhood. In India, where cricket is a religion and Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is God, this film aims to offer a sneak peek in the life of the ‘Little Master’ and seeks to show the man behind the legend. I must confess that initially, I was not much impressed with the idea of a docu-drama and was of the opinion that a mainstream biopic may be more effective, but the 2 hour plus film really changed my mind and how! The film starts off with Sachin’s childhood and we get to know what a curly-haired little devil Tendulkar was as a kid. The narrative is peppered with anecdotes of his mischievousness as told by Sachin’s family members. The first half of the film is nothing less than a ‘coming of age’ story as we follow Sachin’s life and learn how he transformed from a notorious mischief-monger to a focused sportsman with the guidance of his brother Ajit Tendulkar and his coach Ramakant Achrekar. The film also sheds light on how he met his wife Anjali and how they ended up getting married and some of the anecdotes are bound to make you guffaw. Through Anjali, we also get to know how Sachin is as a husband and a father and how his performance on the pitch tends to affect his personal life too. Sachin also takes us on a guided tour of the Indian cricket team and we get to know how the team functions within the confines of a dressing room, the camaraderie between the players and the effect a win or loss has on the entire team. The film has been shot quite well and the background music by A.R. Rahman, the ‘Mozart of Madras’, is one of the highlights of the film as it elevates the narrative to another level altogether. Every time the ‘Sachin... Sachin’ chant reverberates through the cinema-hall, you feel goosebumps on your skin-such is the impact of the docu-drama. James Erskine deserves kudos for his taut direction and for making the film engaging enough to arrest the attention of every viewer in the cinema-hall. What I also liked about the film is that it is not just about Sachin, but about Indian cricket as a whole, with emphasis on the other members of the team and on the people behind Sachin, who made him what he is today. Erskine’s film also has snatches of some of Sachin’s illustrious matches and his tryst with captaincy and the reason behind his reluctance to wear the captain’s cap, which should shed some light on why Tendulkar never coveted the post. We also get glimpses of the murky world of match-fixing and how it affected the entire team. But what mainly works for the film is that it is not just about Sachin, the cricketer, but also Sachin as a person, as a father, as a husband and as a friend. All in all, Sachin-A Billion Dreams is a must-watch even if you are not a cricket buff.